The following is from a press release regarding Senate Bill 514, prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter cold and cough medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. This bill was supported by the Junior Leagues of California's State Public Affairs Committee.
On January 1, California will become the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of over-the-counter cold and cough medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. Senate Bill 514, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian of Palo Alto, will require store clerks to check identification to ensure that no one under 18 purchases these medications, which are known to cause a potentially life-threatening high when consumed in high doses.
According to WebMD and the Consumer Healthcare Productions Association, 1 in 10 teenagers say they’ve used DXM to get high – making it more popular than LSD, cocaine, ecstasy or meth. The California Poison Control System reports that DXM abuse calls for children under age 17 have increased 850% in the past ten years, making DXM abuse the most commonly reported type of abuse in this age group.
“The truth is that ingesting too much cough medicine can be as dangerous as abusing alcohol and other drugs,” Simitian said. “Until now, these drugs have been easy for young people to obtain. By putting age limitations on these drugs, we’re communicating to kids and their parents that, when used inappropriately, these are dangerous drugs with serious consequences.”
Restricting the sale of DXM was a winning submission in Simitian’s 2004 “There Oughta Be a Law” contest from Wayne Benitez and Ron Lawrence, both with the Palo Alto Police Department at the time (Lawrence is now the Rocklin Police Chief). The legislation stalled in 2004, but Simitian successfully reintroduced the bill earlier this year.
Senate Bill 514 was supported by the Junior Leagues of California's State Public Affairs Committee, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (manufacturers of these products), the California Peace Officers Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the California State Board of Pharmacy, among other groups. A violation of the new law will be an infraction. The law provides an exception for sale to minors with a prescription.
Click here for a video relating to the SPAC-supported bill, which goes into effect January 2012.